As has practically grown frequent, a recent SpaceX Falcon 9 launch included the rocket’s first stage returning to Earth. But this time, the touchdown may also be referred to as a World Cup Goal!
Qatar Airways and Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Starlink teams launched two World Cup balls into space and returned them on the Falcon 9 rocket.
“A legendary journey for a legendary tournament, from space to kick off,” Qatar Airways stated in a video revealing the feat.
“From space to the football pitch. We brought the official football for FIFA World Cup Qatar, becoming part of this historical out-of-the-world journey together with SpaceX and FIFA,” Qatar Airways added.
Adidas’ World Cup match balls are the first to use environmentally friendly water-based glues and inks. The ball’s name, “Al Rihla,” means “the journey” or “the excursion” in Arabic.
Both balls traveled over 1,300 kilometers (808 miles), reached top speeds of 8,272 kilometers per hour (5,139 miles per hour), and peaked at the height of 123 kilometers (76 miles).
The balls were initially shipped from Doha to Los Angeles, California. They were then transferred to Cape Canaveral, Florida, in preparation for the launch from Los Angeles. The balls then traveled to space and back, and the Starlink crew returned them to Qatar.
SpaceX’s flight of the balls was part of a promotion for the company’s Starlink satellite internet service.
In collaboration with the Gulf country, Starlink Satellite struck an agreement in late September with Qatar’s Communications Regulatory Authority to deliver internet services in Qatar.
“Thanks to the FIFA World Cup and Qatar Airways for entrusting SpaceX and the Starlink team to fly two World Cup balls to space and back!” SpaceX officials wrote on Twitter.
The new partnership intends to grow Qatar’s information and communications technology sector while also encouraging greater international investment in the country.
This license authorizes Starlink Satellite Qatar to deliver satellite broadband internet services to consumers and businesses via SpaceX’s Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite constellation, which provides global Internet service coverage.